The University of Connecticut is leaving Entercom News/Talk 1080 WTIC Hartford after 26 years as IMG has signed a ten year deal with iHeartMedia Sports “97.9 ESPN” WUCS Windsor Locks to take over as its rights holders for football, mens hockey, and mens and womens basketball starting in with the Fall 2018 school year.
WUCS will also carry select Olympic sports from the university and ancillary programming including the UConn Women’s Basketball Coach’s Radio Show with Geno Auriemma, the UConn Men’s Basketball Coach’s Radio Show with Kevin Ollie, UConn Football Coach’s Radio Show with Randy Edsall, and the UConn Hockey Coach’s Radio Show with Michael Cavanaugh.
IMG today announced a transformative 10-year, multimillion-dollar partnership with iHeartMedia and 97.9 ESPN, Hartford’s Sport Station, to serve as the Home of the UConn Huskies.
97.9 ESPN will become the new home for the UConn-IMG Radio Network beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. Following the conclusion of the current UConn athletic seasons, it will serve as the exclusive terrestrial radio home for UConn Athletics airing regular season and post-season play-by-play for football, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s hockey. Additionally, iHeartMedia plans to broadcast select UConn Olympic sports contests.
“Our new relationship with iHeartMedia and 97.9 ESPN provides UConn Athletics with a powerful reach and the prospect of building an extensive affiliate network throughout the state and the Northeast,” director of athletics David Benedict said. “Our new partnership with a dedicated sports platform hosted by the most powerful sports and media company in the country, will offer fans and listeners more opportunities to interact with our teams and coaches.”
The relationship between the UConn-IMG Radio Network and 97.9 ESPN will also include pre- and post-game shows as well as the UConn Women’s Basketball Coach’s Radio Show with Geno Auriemma, the UConn Men’s Basketball Coach’s Radio Show with Kevin Ollie, UConn Football Coach’s Radio Show with Randy Edsall, and the UConn Hockey Coach’s Radio Show with Michael Cavanaugh.
“This partnership joins three iconic brands,” said Steve Honeycomb, Region President for iHeartMedia. “Having UConn sports on iHeartMedia’s 97.9 ESPN has been our long-term goal. This is the perfect partnership and offers even more entertaining programming for UConn Nation.”
In the event of conflicting game schedules, iHeartMedia will broadcast UConn Athletics events on an affiliate station. IMG also provides fans a variety of ways to follow UConn Athletics audio broadcasts including on their mobile device with the Tunein App and on satellite radio via partnerships with Sirius/XM radio.
iHeartMedia the leading media outlet in the Hartford market with multiple platforms, including its broadcast stations; live events; data; and its digital businesses and platforms, including mobile, social and its own iHeartRadio, the free all-in-one digital music, podcasting and live streaming radio service – with more than 1.7 billion app downloads and 110 million registered users.
“We couldn’t be happier about teaming up with the University of Connecticut Athletics and finally having UConn sports on our station,” said Ben Darnell, Program Director for 97.9 ESPN.
No decisions have been made related to on-air talent for UConn Athletics broadcasts on iHeartMedia Hartford.
IMG is the exclusive multimedia rights holder for UConn Athletics.